Marijuana News

Texas Cities Push for Marijuana Decriminalization Amid Legal Challenges

Texas Cities Push for Marijuana Decriminalization Amid Legal Challenges


Texas Cities Push for Marijuana Decriminalization Amid Legal Challenges

An effort to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in Lubbock, Texas, recently faced a setback as voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition A by a margin of 30 percentage points. The measure, which would have instructed police to stop arresting individuals for possessing less than four ounces of marijuana in most cases, drew strong opposition from local conservative leaders, including Texas Rep. Carl Tepper.

Tepper attributed the failed effort in Lubbock to the city's "common sense," suggesting that residents who travel frequently to places like Portland, Denver, and New York City have seen the effects of similar measures elsewhere and deemed them mistakes. However, Adam Hernandez of the group Lubbock Compact, which supported Prop A, remains optimistic about the broader movement in Texas, noting that voter turnout may vary in different cities.

While marijuana decriminalization has gained traction in several Texas cities, including Austin, Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen, and San Marcos, it has yet to make significant progress in the Republican-controlled Texas Capitol. Groups like Ground Game Texas are therefore focusing on local ballot measures to send a message to lawmakers and activate voters, citing democracy and social justice as their main goals.

Despite setbacks, advocates are pushing forward. However, changes may be on the horizon, as Rep. Tepper plans to introduce measures making it harder for cities to enact such reforms through municipal referendums.

Meanwhile, the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals is holding its annual symposium in Austin, discussing addiction treatment and advocating for the legalization of fentanyl test strips to address the recent surge in overdoses.

While Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing cities that approved decriminalization measures, Ground Game Texas is intervening in Austin's case to defend the city's results. Harker Heights, on the other hand, repealed its ordinance immediately after voter approval, avoiding legal scrutiny.

Advocacy groups are now working to collect enough signatures to bring similar measures to the ballots in Dallas and Lockhart. Recent polling shows a plurality of Texas voters supporting marijuana legalization for medical purposes only, with smaller percentages supporting full legalization or legalization for any purpose.


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